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The Rockport Chamber Music Festival advances a rich musical tradition by presenting chamber and solo performances by renowned musicians and ensembles. The Festival offers classical music of diverse styles and periods, including music created by composers of our time. We provide a full and lively experience for audiences of all ages through interactive educational and cultural events to deepen the understanding and appreciation of chamber music.

Inspired by Rockport’s rich artistic heritage and spectacular seaside setting, the Festival was founded in 1981 by two musicians, pianist-composer David Alpher and soprano Lila Deis, and Paul Sylva, a Rockport businessman. The founders’ goal was to create an exciting chamber music series in one of the nation’s oldest and most vital art colonies—home to many well-known contemporary artists and a favorite haunt, in the early part of the 20th century, of renowned painters such as Winslow Homer, Harrison Cady, and Childe Hassam.

For the past 27 seasons, the Festival has honored the founders’ vision by presenting a chamber music series of extraordinary quality each June. For each of these 27 years, the Rockport Art Association has graciously hosted the Festival concerts in its Hibbard Gallery.

Under the visionary leadership of Artistic Director David Deveau since 1995, the Festival continues to receive praise for the highest quality musicianship and innovative programming. Soloists and ensembles of international reputation perform repertoire from standards of the classical repertoire to little-known, early music to world premieres of newly commissioned works. Lectures, discussions, and family concerts with interactive programming stretch musical horizons and challenge audiences of all ages with the new, exciting, and unexpected.

Engaging audiences, both young and old, in an appreciation for classical music continues to be a vital part of the Festival’s mission. RCMF brought 43 educational programs to Cape Ann residents over the past year, reaching 2100 school students and more than 700 adults. The Festival continues to broaden musical horizons even further by expanding our programming to include jazz; a genre so important to our American culture.

Over the past seven years, as Festival audiences and programs have continued to grow, and as more of our concerts sell out – even before opening night – RCMF has searched for a larger, permanent home of its own. Our goal was to create an intimate setting designed for the enjoyment of chamber music, but one that would provide additional seating, unrestricted access, full air conditioning, superior acoustics, and the opportunity for expanded and more diverse programming.

After more than three years of planning, the Rockport Chamber Music Festival Board gave the green light in September, 2008 to begin construction of the Shalin Liu Performance Center on Main Street in Rockport.  The board vote came after a one-year delay, the result of a lawsuit that was settled in April.  Though costly and frustrating, the lawsuit gave the Rockport Chamber Music Festival additional time to assess and prepare for an endeavor that will mark an important turning point in the 28 year history of the Rockport Chamber Music Festival.

This extraordinary cultural resource will host a variety of performances and educational programs year round to enrich the cultural and economic life of the North Shore, greater Boston, and beyond. In addition to expanded Festival programming, the new venue will also offer opportunities for other presenters, and to business, civic, and social groups.

Once again, welcome to an exhilarating 2009 Season, and please join us in imagining the future of the Festival!